John Calvin Complete Commentary - John 5:45 - 5:45

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John Calvin Complete Commentary - John 5:45 - 5:45

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45.Think not that I shall accuse you to the Father. This is the way in which we ought to deal with obstinate and hardened persons, when they learn nothing by instruction and friendly warnings. They must be summoned to the judgment-seat of God. There are few persons, indeed, who openly mock God, but there are very many who, believing that God, whom they oppose as enemies, is gracious to them, amuse themselves at their ease with empty flatteries. Thus, in the present day, our Giants, (114) though they wickedly trample under foot the whole doctrine of Christ, haughtily plume themselves on being the intimate friends of God. For who will persuade the Papists that Christianity exists anywhere else than among them? Such were the scribes, with whom Christ is here disputing. Though they were the greatest despisers of the Law, yet they boasted of Moses in lofty terms, so that they did not hesitate to make use of him as a shield in opposing Christ. If he had threatened that he would be a powerful and formidable adversary to them, he knew that this would have been treated with the utmost contempt; and, therefore, he threatens that an accusation, drawn up by Moses, will be preferred against them.

Moses, in whom you trust. There are some who think, that Christ here points out the distinction between his own office and that of Moses, because it belongs to the Law to convict men of being unbelievers. But this is a mistake; for Christ did not intend that, but only intended to shake off the confidence of hypocrites, who falsely boasted of entertaining reverence for Moses; just as if a person in the present day, in order to foil the Papists with their own weapon, (115) were to say, that they will find no enemies more decidedly opposed to them than the holy doctors of the Church, under whose authority they falsely and wickedly take shelter. (116) Let us also learn from it, that we ought not to glory in the Scriptures without a good reason; for if we do not honor the Son of God by the true obedience of faith, all whom God hath raised up to be his witnesses will rise up against us as accusers at the last day. When he says, that they trust in Moses, he does not accuse them of superstition, as if they ascribed to Moses the cause of their salvation; but his meaning is, that they do wrong in relying on the protection of Moses, as if they had him to defend their wicked obstinacy.

(114) The wars of the Giants held a conspicuous place in the ancient mythology, and in the popular belief. Not to mention the poets, whose imaginations were kindled by such topics, they are formally introduced by Cicero, in a philosophical treatise, though only for the purpose of instructing his readers to “ and reject these fables.” “ gods,” says he, “ the fables relate, were not without wars and battles; and that not only as in those described by Homer, when some of the gods were ranged on the one side, and some on the other side, of two opposing armies; but even, as in the case of the Titans and Giants, they carried on their own battles. Such things (he adds) are said, and are very foolishly believed, and are full of absurdity and downright silliness.” — (De Nat. Deorum, lib. 2.) The daring presumption and utter discomfiture of the Giants, in their fabulous wars, are sometimes alluded to by Calvin, and other Christian writers, in describing the wickedness and folly of man, who stretcheth out his hand against God, and strengtheneth himself against the Almighty, (Job_15:25.) — Ed.

(115) “Pour rembarrer les Papistes de leur baston mesme.”

(116) “Du titre desquels ils se couvrent faussement et meschamment.”